Day 4 - Corval, Vila Viçosa, Elvas, Monsaraz
Morning - Corval, Vila Viçosa & Elvas
your morning at São Pedro do Corval, a tiny village renowned for its
ceramics. There are over 20 pottery workshops to visit around here,
making it one of the largest artisan communities in Portugal. You can
come here to see the potters at work or buy a souvenir from the shops,
which include anything from plates to decorative tiles.
Corval, make your way north to Vila Viçosa. Like Estremoz, Vila Viçosa
is also a marble hub, and you’ll find traces of it all over the town.
you get to Vila Viçosa, you can begin your tour by the castle. The two
circular towers mark the entrance to the castle’s grounds, which were
once the home of the Dukes of Bragança before they moved
Ducal. Beyond the walls, is a series of houses, a church and the castle
which now contains the museums of archaeology and hunting.
few steps from the castle is the Terreiro do Paço, a large square that
vaguely resembles the one in Lisbon, but without the crowds. Facing the
square is the Paço Ducal, a 16th-century palace with a stunning marble
façade. Inside, you’ll find a series of paintings and antique furniture,
posing alongside tiled walls and painted ceilings. The palace has a few
sections which you can visit separately, including a collection of
Chinese porcelain, a carriage museum and the armoury room.
After Vila Viçosa, continue driving to Elvas, a fortified town located in the east of Alentejo.
the way to the town, you can stop by Forte da Graça. This old military
structure is one of the most unique fortifications in Elvas, with its
walls forming the shape of a star. At the highest part of the fortress,
stands a yellow building known as Casa do Governador. From this vantage
point, you can capture the town and admire the views of the countryside
As you approach Elvas, you’ll inevitably pass by
Aqueduto da Amoreira. Completed in the 17th century, this large aqueduct
is one of the town’s landmarks and stretches for nearly 8 km.
entering the medieval walls, you can visit the Forte de Santa Luzia,
another star-shaped fortress which features a small military museum.
From there, head straight to the old town, and follow the route to the
castle. The castle was initially established by the Moors, but the
present structure dates back to the 13th century. There’s also a bar
here where you can stop for a quick drink.
around the castle, head to the Cathedral, passing through Largo Santa
Clara. In the middle of this square is a 16th-century pillory which was
once the site of inquisition trials.
The imposing cathedral was
also around during that era, but it got renovated in the 18th century,
so it includes Baroque elements like the chapels and the golden organ.
Elvas, you can go straight to Monsaraz or, if you want, you can make a
small detour to Campo Maior to visit the vineyards of Adega Mayor.
Amid the vineyards, is a stark white building designed by Portuguese
architect Siza Vieira, which stores the wine barrels. You can do a
simple tour of the estate or combine your visit with a wine workshop or a
Morning Tour Map
Afternoon - Reguengos de Monsaraz & Monsaraz
from Elvas or Campo Maior, drive down to Reguengos de Monsaraz. This
is the home of Herdade do Esporão, one of the most famous producers of
Alentejo wine. They offer guided tours several times per day, but make
sure to book in advance to guarantee a place. Beyond the vineyards,
there’s also a restaurant, a wine bar and a shop where you can buy
bottles to take home. Even if you miss the tour, you can always order a
glass of wine by the bar and pair it with a delicious cheese board.
option is to visit Ervideira, a smaller vineyard between Reguengos
and Évora that also provides wine tours and tastings.
Reguengos, continue to the Amieira Marina, a small harbour set along
the Alqueva Lake. In the summer, this area is a great spot for
watersports like canoeing and paddle. You can even rent a boat for
fishing or take a cruise along the lake with friends. If you prefer to
relax, there’s a river beach nearby with a big sandy stretch, offering
views of the surrounding olive groves.
From here head to
Monsaraz, a tiny hilltop village enclosed by medieval walls. Park the
car outside the walls, and then continue on foot passing through one of
the ancient gates. Porta da Vila is the main entrance, but three other
gates give access to the village as well.
If you walk alongside
the walls, you’ll soon spot the Monsaraz Castle. Established in the
14th century, this castle was at the frontline of numerous battles
between Portugal and Spain. Today its empty grounds offer the best
viewpoint over the Alqueva Lake.
Once you’ve seen the castle,
take a stroll around the village, stopping by the Igreja Nossa Senhora
da Lagoa to admire the marble tomb of a Knight Templar. Opposite the
church is an 18th-century pillory that is also worth capturing.
few miles outside the village is the Praia Fluvial de Monsaraz, another
river beach where you can unwind after a tiring day of sightseeing.
night, don’t miss the Observatório do Lago Alqueva. This local
observatory is the best place for stargazing in Alentejo. Every night,
the centre organizes two-hour astronomical observations, that teach you
about constellations and allow you to observe the stars and faraway
galaxies with the help of a telescope.
Afternoon Tour Map